Shaquille O’Neal is without question one of the greatest NBA players of all time. His accolades speak for themselves.
Four championships. Three NBA Finals MVPs. One NBA MVP award. A mind-blowing 15 All-Star nods. The list goes on and on.
Few would be able to stand next to Shaq when it comes to accomplishments. And that what has made his son Shareef’s path even harder.
Recently Shaq divulged the brutal truth he had to lay on his boy regarding basketball and life.
“I set high standards like what my father set for me,” Shaq said in an interview with USA Today. “He’s working hard. Of course, being an O’Neal kid, everyone thinks his journey is going to be like mine.
“But I tell my kids all the time: ‘I’m an Amazonian that walks through the jungle. I’m crazy. Your path will never be like my path. You’ll have to choose your own path. However you’ll make it, you’ll make it.’ He decided to go early. He had a good summer league and he will be in the G League. He still has a chance to fulfill his dream.”
Shaq has tried to make it as explicitly clear as possible to Shareef that attempting to duplicate his career is a near-impossibility.
“I tell him all the time: ‘You are never going to be me. Don’t let people tell you that you’re me because you’re not. Your father is crazy. Your father is an idiot,” Shaq said.
“Your father was a monster on the court. You’re not like that. Develop your game. Develop your style. It’s fortunate and unfortunate that you’ll have to live with that name. But create your own way.’ Hopefully, that takes the pressure off because I was crazy.”
And he has never shied away from being blunt about his son’s NBA future.
This most recent example was just par for the course.
She stole the show on NFL Sunday. https://t.co/8pKGthsQJ0
— Game 7 (@game7__) September 19, 2022
What sort of hoops career will Shareef end up having when it’s all said and done? Time will tell.
But it’s safe to assume that it will be absolutely nothing like his father’s.
Jennifer Withers Hoey is a former Business Development Manager who transitioned to writing about sports. With valuable connections all over the West Coast, she has used those contacts to break some of the most interesting stories pertaining to the Portland Trail Blazers, Oregon Ducks, LA Lakers, LA Clippers, Seattle Supersonics (RIP), and more.